Palestinians and media organizations are condemning Israel’s raid Wednesday of 11 Palestinian telecom and production companies in the occupied West Bank, which have since been shut down.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Thursday called on authorities to stop their harassment of Palestinian media, as well as for Israeli forces to release the two journalists arrested in the raids in the West Bank.
"Israeli soldiers cannot simply allege incitement and raid broadcasters' offices," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said. "We call on the Israeli military to release Amr al-Jaabari and Ibrahim al-Jabaari, return all equipment seized from TransMedia, PalMedia, Ramsat, and any other outlets, and allow the media companies to resume their work without fear of reprisal."
Palestinian media workers inspect the entrance of Palmedia media production company after it was closed by the Israeli army. | Photos: Reuters
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said the attack was an “unprecedented, dangerous escalation” that reflects Israel’s “inability” to “challenge the reality about its crimes as it was broadcasted to the world by the Palestinian media.”
On Wednesday, Israeli forces, in cooperation with the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet, raided the offices of 11 Palestinian media outlets, saying that they provide services to the Hamas-affiliated stations Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds.
Israeli forces confiscated the documents and broadcast equipment of the companies, shutting them down. Soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also used plywood and metal to physically block access to the offices. Notices were also placed, saying the companies would remain shut for six months, with additional warnings to employees for inciting “terrorism”.
Hamas responded to the attack by saying, “This is a proof that the Israeli occupation is afraid of the pioneering role of the Palestinian mass media in exposing its crimes across the globe.”
The Palestinian government also strongly condemned the raids, with government spokesman Yousif al-Mahmoud describing the raids as a “blatant violation of all international resolutions.”
In addition, Islamic Jihad described the attack as a “crime that reveals the weakness of Zionism”, while the Al-Ahrar Movement said targeting Palestinian media firms “is considered a dangerous attack on freedom of expression.”
Israel has long been accused of stifling Palestinian media and journalism, which regularly report on the apartheid regime’s decades-long military occupation of Palestinian territories.